Published in The Music (WA) and on theMusic.com.au, Mar – Apr 2015
Shortly after Guttermouth’s “horrible” 2012 Australian tour, frontman Mark Adkins became a human punching bag in a Tijuana jail. Daniel Cribb finds out how he turned it all around, escaped “girlfriend-itis” and rediscovered his love of music.
The last time Californian punks Guttermouth announced an Australian tour, it came with a disclaimer. Their extensive 2012 tour was to be their last in the country, and after some disastrous performances, the band flew home with their legacy in ruins. “We were screwed up, you know,” vocalist Mark Adkins admits. “It’s funny, because they said the shows were so horrible, it actually pumped up ticket sales for later shows. People want to see a train wreck; it’s more exciting when you’re there to see the train wreck. People stop and turn their heads at car accidents for a reason. They want to see carnage and chaos. That’s what we delivered at that one show. I’m not proud of it, I’ll tell you that.”
The tour reached its lowest point at Ferntree Gully, which was a “goon bag day”. The downward spiral continued for Adkins upon his return to the states, and he eventually found himself homeless in Mexico, where he was soon thrown into a Tijuana jail. “A scary place to be is a Mexican jail, dude,” he tells. “Let’s say I was a human punching bag, pretty much. Whether it was guards or inmates, you’re best to learn how to protect yourself, quick, and believe me, fighting is not one of my specialties actually. It was as unpleasant as you can imagine.”
It was “girlfriend-itis” that led Adkins down that path, and almost saw him quit the band. “I was listening to some girl who was coercing me into stopping what I was doing, and leaving for the nine-to-five life. Resentment surfaced and I wasn’t happy with myself, or the choice I made and the direction that I knew I was going to be starting, so I had to ditch her… it’s a quick turnaround when you get back to what you love.
“Honestly, this is who I am and it’s what I do. Certain people get lucky and they have a job that they are passionate about and like and enjoy. And sometimes people make mistakes and walk away from things. Like, I almost walked away from this for a girl, thinking that that was right. I was going to change my whole life for a female. You should never try and change someone, and if someone tries to change you, you’re going to resent them fast. Believe me. That happened.”
With things on the up and up, Adkins plans to leave a better taste with this tour. “This is my eighteenth trip coming to you guys,” he tells. “It’s hard to put your finger on, but the vibe is different and it’s quite a pleasant escape. When I go [to Australia], I rarely ever come home straight away after a tour. I stay there for three weeks or something, with no itinerary; just hire a car, just drive around, no hotels, and wind up where I wind up.”